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Taxi drivers face fines of £1000 for discriminating against wheelchair users

Taxi drivers will from 6 April be prohibited from discrimination against wheelchair users, the government has announced.

They will face fines of up to £1,000 if they refuse to transport wheelchair users or attempt to charge them extra, transport minister Andrew Jones said when he announced the change.

Drivers found to discriminate could additionally face a local authority withdrawing or suspending their licence, though those unable to provide assistance for medical reasons could apply for an exemption.

From 6 April taxi and private hire vehicle drivers will be obliged to transport wheelchair users in their wheelchair; provide passengers in wheelchairs with appropriate assistance; charge wheelchair users the same as non-wheelchair users.

Mr Jones said: “People who use wheelchairs are often heavily reliant on taxis and private hire vehicles and this change to the law will mean fair and equal treatment for all.”

The new rules affect vehicles designated as wheelchair accessible, which includes all those in London and “a significant number” in most major urban centres, the Department for Transport said.